It’s almost impossible to visit Hoi An without stopping by a tailor shop.
You would actually have to go out of your way to avoid one, as there are now over 500 tailors located throughout the city. As you tour through the downtown streets, almost every other shop does custom tailoring, sewing, leather work and alterations. You won’t be able to miss the mannequins wearing suits, dresses, gowns, bikinis and even winter coats as you explore ancient town.
Tailoring is one of the main things that keeps Hoi An on the map for tourists and continues to draw in thousands of people a year.
So, should you visit a Hoi An tailor to get custom clothing made?
My answer is: YES, absolutely!
Visiting a tailor in Europe, the USA or Canada is always going to cost you a pretty penny, so take advantage of the fact that you’re in one of the cheapest places left worldwide to have custom clothing made.
But how much should you expect to pay for tailoring?
And what tailors in Hoi An are the best ones to deal with?
After spending 5 months in Hoi An this past year, I learned a LOT about the differences in pricing and quality at the different tailors in town. It’s true that not all tailor shops are created equal, but that doesn’t mean that only the expensive ones are worth your business.
I personally had clothing made at some of the cheapest shops I could find, along with a dress at the ‘big name’ store in town, just so I could see the differences first hand.
While the big brand name store did give me a great product, some of my favorite pieces are the ones that cost me 80% less and came from the ‘cheaper’ stores.
This blog on Hoi An tailors will teach you:
- The average prices for different items of clothing
- Which tailors I personally recommend
- How much time you need to get custom clothing made
- How to find the best tailor for your specific needs
- Best tips for using a tailor in Hoi An
Casual vs Formal Tailor Shops in Hoi An
For the most part, tailor shops in Hoi An seem to fall under two categories. The first is a basic/casual kind of store with summer dresses, rompers and easier patterns, and the second type being high-end stores with suits, gowns and dress clothes. There are not too many tailor shops that fall in the middle.
If you are looking specifically for formal type attire, you should really stick to the high-end tailor shops. They will have more luxurious fabrics, more skilled tailors and more experience with delivering a proper fit. I wouldn’t try and get suits or gowns made at a cheaper tailor shop because it’s going to show. The fabric might be to flimsy, or the tailor may not be used to working with more complicated designs, which is just going to be a frustrating experience for both parties.
I should know – I tried! I brought some gown ideas to several of the cheapest tailors I could find, and the finished result was either completely wrong, or they told me straight up they could not make the dress.
For anything other than formal wear, I would feel free to shop around at any type of tailor shop. If you are looking for casual button up shirts, sundresses, tops, shorts and other simple designs, most of the tailors will do a great job. I personally would not go to a high-end shop and pay top dollar for a super causal design, as they can easily be made anywhere in town.
Negotiating with Tailors in Hoi An
I found that no matter then store, the tailor would start the pricing between 30% to 60% higher than they will ultimately accept.
If you find a tailor or design that you want to work with, start negotiations and do not pay the first quoted price, no matter what they tell you. No tailor shop will ever give you their best price at first offer, as bartering and negotiating are part of their everyday business.
This isn’t to say you are trying to diminish the value of their hard work, but they put the price UP when they see a tourist inquiring. Unless you like overpaying for things, I would absolutely negotiate until both parties feel it’s a fair deal.
Prices For Tailors in Hoi An
Here is what you should expect to pay for custom tailoring in Hoi An in 2019/2020. These of course are estimates, and already taken into account that you’ve negotiated them down to this amount. Use these prices as a guideline so you don’t completely get taken for a ride but remember that if you find an outfit you absolutely love, don’t walk away from it just because it doesn’t fit into this pricing guide.
Prices at Formal/High-End Tailor Shop
Women’s Dress or Evening Gown
Simple design – 1,700,000 VND ($75 USD)
Moderate design – 2,100,000 VND ($90 USD)
Complicated design with extra fabric – 3,000,000 VND ($130 USD)
As long as the dress is not made with some luxurious imported speciality fabric, I personally wouldn’t pay over 3 million VND for any dress made in Hoi An.
Men’s 3 Piece Suit (Pants, Shirt, Jacket)
Simple/Basic Fabric – 2,100,000 VND ($90 USD)
Moderate Fabric – 4,000,000 VND ($170 USD)
Luxury Fabric & Design – 6,000,000 VND ($260 USD)
Again, unless the fabric is imported speciality fabric, or the design is extra complicated for some reason, I would not personally pay over 6 million VND for a 3-piece suit in Hoi An. I have seen some shops quote up to 10 million VND, but I am not sure the quality can match the ask.
My personal experience at high-end tailor Hoi An
Item: Custom red evening gown
Price: 2,150,000 VND ($92 USD)
Starting Price (Before Negotiations): 4,000,000 VND ($173 USD)
Difference: 47% off
I saw the dress on a model when I first arrived in Hoi An, and it took me almost 5 months to decide to get it. I’ll be honest, I first brought the photo of this dress to two other tailors in town that were extremely cheap. Both of them told me they could not do this dress, as the design was too complicated and they did not have the right kind of fabric. I appreciated their honesty and decided to bite the bullet and go to BeBe directly.
I never saw myself being a patron of Bebe, not because I don’t believe in their work, but because I usually don’t seek out the most expensive store in a city. I know that with high-end brand names, you are sometimes paying for their expensive rent and marketing budgets, more so than for their higher quality of clothing.
However, I left feeling very satisfied by the entire experience, and I would recommend buying higher-end clothing there. They greet you with cold water, they have air-con in the fitting rooms, and they do know their stuff!
My dress took 3 fittings to get right, but they made it exactly how I requested. I made some changes from the original design, and they were happy to work with me on them.
Prices at a Casual Tailor Shop
Outside of the “Big 5” brand name tailor shops in town, around 80% of them will fall under the ‘casual’ category, offering items at a lower price. For the most part, these shops usually offer a lower quality fabric/material, but for some items (especially easy casual wear) it really doesn’t matter.
Prices For Women’s Casual Clothing
Basic/Simple Summer Dress:
325,000 – 450,000 VND ($14 – $20 USD)
Summer Dress (Detailed/Extra Fabric) :
500,000 – 750,000 VND ($21 – $33 USD)
Sleeveless Button Up Shirt:
325,000 – 450,000 VND ($14 – $20 USD)
Long Sleeve Button Up Shirt:
350,000 – 475,000 VND ($15 – $20 USD)
200,000 – 325,000 VND ($9 – $13 USD)
Short Sleeve Blouse (Basic/Simple):
300,000 – 425,000 VND
($13 – $18 USD)
Blouse (More Detailed/Extra Fabric):
425,000 – 600,000 VND
($18 – $26 USD)
500,000 – 800,000 VND ($21 – $35 USD)
375,000 – 675,000 VND ($16 – $29 USD)
300,000 – 500,000 VND ($13 – $21 USD)
Prices For Men’s Casual Clothing
Short Sleeve Button Up Shirt:
350,000 – 500,000 VND ($15 – $21 USD)
Long Sleeve Button Up Shirt:
400,000 – 650,000 VND ($17 – $28 USD)
Mid Length Shorts:
375,000 – 650,000 VND ($16 – $28 USD)
450,000 – 800,000 VND ($19 – $35 USD)
Can you get nicer clothing made at more casual/basic tailor shops?
Just because you don’t want to splurge for high-end BeBe, doesn’t mean other skilled shops can’t still make suits or gowns.
Note: Sometimes you can find a diamond in the rough that will make a suit or gown identical to a high end shop with a much lower price. Other times, you will find yourself left with a lower quality item and wondering why you didn’t spend the extra money in the first place. Read reviews on Trip Advisor and do some homework/comparison first!
If you find a cheaper tailor shop that still makes dressier clothing, here is what you can expect to pay there:
Women’s Evening Dress/ Gown:
900,000 – 1,500,000 VND
($39 – $65 USD)
Men’s 3 Piece Suit:
1,200,000 – 2,000,000 VND
($52 – $87 USD)
Men’s or Women’s Coat:
700,000 – 1,000,000 VND
($30 – $43 USD)
My personal experience at casual/cheaper tailors in Hoi An
I went to 3 of the cheaper, more casual type tailors in Hoi An for some basic items.
- Alice Tailor
- Hu’o’ng Ly Tailor
- Golden Silk Tailor
Item: Casual black/white sundress
Price: 350,000 VND ($15 USD)
Starting Price (Before Negotiations): 500,000 VND ($22 USD)
Difference: 30% off
This is dress is my FAVORITE casual item I got in Hoi An. In retrospect, I should have gone back to Alice Tailor and gotten a few more made, plus a few extra items. Big mistake on my part!
I heard from many online forums not to go into the main market area, as all the tailors inside that building were ‘scams’ or ‘bad quality’, but I have to disagree.
The dress Alice made me for 350,000 VND is amazing and I love the quality and fabric. I even had 3 fittings for that price to make sure it was 100% correct. It fits my body like a glove and it looks like a dress that is much more expensive. The fabric is slightly structured and very flowy/soft and it feels amazing on my skin.
Alice Tailor Address: 01 Trần Phú, street
Hu’o’ng Ly Tailor
Item: Short sleeve casual button up shirt
Price: 375,000 VND ($16 USD)
Starting Price (Before Negotiations): 700,000 VND ($30 USD)
Difference: 47% off
My husband had 3 short sleeve button up shirts made at this tailor and loves them to this day. He got one in medium blue, navy blue and army green and they look so good dressed up or down. Since he got all three of them at the same time, he was able to make a deal for 1.25 Million VND, which works out to 375,000 VND, or just $16 US dollars each!
Since he had such good luck, I had a smaller sleeveless version of this shirt made for 375,000 VND as well.
Golden Silk Tailor
Item: 2 sundresses (replicas of a dress I brought in)
Price: 700,000 VND for both ($30 USD)
Item: Sleeveless blouse (replica of a shirt I brought in)
Price: 290,000 VND ($12.50 USD)
We found this tailor through friends we met while living in Hoi An. She told me her sister runs a tailor shop and I should stop by and have some items made. Instead of going and getting something made from scratch, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to get some of my already favorite clothing items copied.
I brought in a sun dress that I love wearing in hot climates, and a sleeveless blouse that can easily be dressed up or down. I asked the tailor if she could make replicas of these items, with just a few minor alterations to make the new product fit even better.
The dress: Since I loved my sundress so much, I actually asked her to make 2 of them, one in red and one in blue. I asked for 1 inch added to the length of the dresses.
The blouse: I asked a smaller waist on the blouse, while making the bust ½ an inch bigger.
On my next fitting both the dresses and the blouse were nowhere near how I wanted the styles to be. The dresses were not the same as my sundress and fit completely differently, and the blouse was huge and baggy all around. However, the girl who runs the shop was incredibly nice and accommodating and said they would alter it as many times as it took to get it right. It took an additional 3 more visits to get it right. I am happy with the finished products, and even though it took a while to get them fitting right, they were a rock solid price and she gave patient, friendly service.
How Much Time Does Custom Tailoring Take in Hoi An?
Most tailors will start making your item later that evening, or early the next morning. After your initial visit, you will most likely be asked to come back the following afternoon to try on the clothing and see if any adjustments need to be made. 80% of the time, they will need to make slight changes after your first fitting. The majority of items will be ready to go after your second fitting, depending on how complicated the design is and the skill of the tailor.
Day 1: Initial consultation
Day 2: Fitting of item
Day 3: 2nd fitting of item
Most people find success after their 2nd fitting. If the design is very complicated, or if you were unable to communicate your expectations with the tailor, you might need a 3rd or 4th fitting, which can take an extra 1-2 days.
Give yourself 2-4 days to have your clothes made while you visit Hoi An.
Can you buy the samples hanging up in the tailor shops?
When you visit any tailor in Hoi An, you’ll see many dresses, shirts and outfits already made and hanging up around the entire store. If you are in a hurry and don’t have 2 or 3 days to have clothing made, you might be tempted to buy something they already have available in the shop. Truth be told, most of these items (especially in more casual stores) have likely been there for a long time.
Yes, you can buy these samples and pre-made outfits, but before you do – make sure the fabric hasn’t been lightened/discolored from sun exposure or stained by mildew/mold.
Tips For Using a Tailor in Hoi An
→ Depending on the time of year, the weather might be extremely hot and humid. Many of the more casual and cheaper tailor shops do not have air conditioning and perhaps only have a fan or two. This can become super uncomfortable when trying on clothes in 40+ weather, let alone getting to and from the shop daily in the oppressive heat. Use Grab to get back and forth from your appointments during the mid-day heat, and plan accordingly when using the tailors during the hot season. (March-Sept)
→ If you don’t like something or if you want something changed, voice it immediately. You will regret not saying something afterwards when you are stuck with an item of clothing you never wear but spent time and money having it made.
→ Always negotiate. Like I mentioned above, the bartering system is deeply ingrained into Vietnamese culture. They expect you to negotiate with them, so much so that they raise the price of their clothing in order to leave room for coming down to meet your offer. Expect to get at least 20-35% off of their first price but in many cases, you can actually receive 40-50% and as high as 60% off.
→ Shop around. If you have extra time in Hoi An, shop around at half a dozen tailors to get a good idea of fabrics, prices and customer service. This is also a great way to see how low some tailors will go, because as you go to leave after inquiring about clothing, they will usually make you some good offers. Write down all the prices you are quoted so you have a good idea what your budget should look like.
→ Ask if the fabric is already washed. If you are measured for an item, and then the fabric shrinks slightly in the wash, your new custom sundress is now useless! Make sure that the fabric you chose has already been pre-washed so it will still fit you after the first wash.
→ It might not be exactly like the photo. In some shops they have printed off photos from popular online clothing stores, using them as examples of what they can make. This does not necessarily mean they have even made that particular item before, nor might they have the correct pattern for it. I saw so many pictures of my favorite dress printed directly off of LuLu’s website, which made me wonder how they could re-create a dress from a 2D photo. If you are using printed off photos as inspiration, know that they might not turn out the same in real life.
→ Get something made based on your pain points. We all have something about clothing that just drives us nuts. Maybe you can never find pants that are long enough, or suit jackets are always too tight in the shoulders. For me, it’s getting shirts or dressed that are small enough in the empire waistline, but still big enough in the bust. Whatever your clothing pain point is, use that as inspiration on what kind of items to get made. This is your change to address your custom needs for way less than you ever thought.
My best advice:
Have fun with it! This isn’t something you get to do every day!
Enjoy your tailor experience in Hoi An!